A Buddhist Take on the Politics Involved with the Park 51 Project

Buddhism and Politics? Sigh

 

I’m not going to talk about the Park 51 Project. You know what’s happening. You’re interested or not. Other Houstonbelief Bloggers have weighed in. Check out Dr. Jill Carroll’s latest on it and then read her first post about it. You can also read a Muslim perspective on J.K. Hawaja’s blog here.

 

Rather I’m going to talk about politics. Well sort of. Just read on.

 

I don’t like politics anymore. I don’t think I’m right or that anyone else is wrong. Beliefs are dangerous things that lead to divisive hatred.

 

It almost makes me sympathetic to people who accuse Buddhist Practitioners of being Nihilists. In a way, they’re right. Most of us have ideas about spiritual things but beliefs??

 

Woah.

 

Believe is a strong word and it leads to dogma and dogma leads to ego. How so? Group ego is the most tenacious ego of all because it lives outside the mind of one person it’s reinforced and subscribed to by many people. I’m digressing a bit here but I’m trying to illustrate why I don’t like politics. It has all of these characteristics & in many ways Modern American politics has supplanted religion as the ethical system that people are most familiar with.

 

So keeping all this in mind, you understand that, while there are many Buddhist politicians including two in Congress right now, politics and Buddhism are not an easy relationship. Some have postulated that there is not relationship.

 

What got me thinking about all this is an article written by a Conservative writer on a site I had never visited.

 

Go read it for yourself.

 

It’s not terrible or full of nasty rhetoric (about Buddhism, Islam is a whole other story) but it does assume that Buddhism is a religion. This is a mantle that many Buddhists would rather not wear. It’s not even terribly inaccurate about the way that Buddhism as a group operates.

 

However, this is the problem. Bill Warner, the author, he makes a generalization based upon people’s choice of ethical path. I’ve met many Muslims I like respect and trust. I’ve met many Jews that I feel the same way. Most of my family is Christian and I trust and mostly like and respect them. 😉

 

Making people into a group with a heterogeneous identity is not only artificial; it’s an affront to their rights as individuals. There is no worldwide group called Islam. There’s no worldwide group called Buddhism or Christianity or anything else. Even the groups that we self assign are made up of individual reflections, we call people, of the oneness that we all are.

 

OK that last part was a belief, I suppose, I can’t verify 100% that we are all part of one universal entity that simultaneously exists and does not exist. Ha-HaHAHA!!! 

See? Everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs and I’m OK with that. Believe what you want. Just don’t get irritated with others because theirs don’t jive with yours.

 

You’re not right and they’re not wrong. I’m not right and you’re not wrong.

 

Oh and if you want to read some funny opinions on this same article check out:

 

The Reformed Buddhist, my good friend Kyle’s, take on it.

 

Also read the short and to the point opinion of John Papas, who’s don guest posts here, of Zen Dirt Zen Dust on his Posterous blog:  Point of Contact Subtle ~ Dharma Mouth Punch

 

Oh and if you’re thinking that you got cheated because I never talked about the Park 51 Project. Go read the links and you will see that’s what I’ve been talking about the whole time.

 

J

 

As always, thanks for reading.

 

Gassho,

 

 

 (For those of you reading on my Posterous Network this is one of those posts syndicated from the Houstonbelief.com site)

 

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